Best time to visit Sicily

Best time to visit Sicily


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

When Sicily gets hot, it gets very hot which can make walking and cycling in summer
a bit of a slog. The best time to visit Sicily is September as the sea is still warm, the service is more convivial and temperatures are ideal for getting out and about. Spring is also great, although beware of history hungry school groups who tend to visit from Easter onwards. Winter is pretty much locals only but as temps drop and facilities close, apart from over the Christmas vacations, you’ll find a much quieter side to Sicily that few tourists get to appreciate.

Things to do in Sicily


WHAT TO DO IN SICILY & WHAT NOT TO

Things to do in Sicily…


What better way to combine Sicily’s coastline and cultural sites other than to cycle? Regions, such as the southeast or northwest, have good quality tarmac roads with views in the Noto Valley or Zingaro Nature Reserve always creating sublimely scenic pit stops. As much of Sicily’s cultural interest is along the coast this makes for an ideal cycle route however, if you’re looking for more of a challenge, head inland and you won’t be disappointed.

Step back in time. The amphitheatres of Syracuse, temples of Agrigento and acropolis of Selinunte all equate to one of the best history tours on the planet and if you’re hoping to mix medieval monuments with baroque buildings, Sicily is calling louder than Zeus with a hangover. The laid back ambience encourages you to leave contemporary cares at home with a remarkable collection of antiquities and archeological sites ensuring the whole island is enshrined within a time capsule, well-worth digging into.

Get active. Just the views of Etna are breathtaking and if you’re wondering what Europe’s tallest active volcano looks like, there’s only one way to go and that’s up. Sicily’s Aeolian Islands are also ablaze and the chance to don a protective helmet and peer into Stromboli or Vulcano is a devilishly exciting experience and always makes for some uniquely photographic backdrops on a hiking trip.

Things not to do in Sicily…


Go on a diet. First things first, don’t even attempt to put your blinkers on when walking past a Sicilian bakery or patisserie as resistance is fundamentally futile. Across the northern coastline, from Palermo to Taormina, you’ll come across an array of food outlets with deep fried arancini, huge slices of Stromboli pizza and candy covered cassatas providing more than one reason to hide the bathroom scales and indulge in a cooking course or foodie tour.

Get impatient with public transport. Whether it’s the sun, the scenery or the cannoli, things are a little less rushed on Sicily and although everything ticks along very comfortably, public transport may leave you waiting just a tad longer than you might have come to expect. Buses, especially, are notoriously unreliable so hire a car if you want to see the sights at a time that suits you or aim for shorter distances if you’re planning on traveling across Sicily like a laid back local.

Forget your swimmers. Sicily boasts an abundance of pebbled and sandy beaches and if you’re looking for relaxation after a few days spent in the saddle or on a walking trail then don’t forget your swimmers as the water’s absolutely lovely. All coasts have some superb spots with San Vito Lo Capo and Cefalu (north), Catania and Giardini-Naxos (east), Eraclea Minoa, Capo Bianco and the Aegadian Islands (west), representing some of the best beaches in Sicily.

Sicily travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN SICILY


Marta Marinelli, from our supplier Exodus, shares her tips and advice on visiting Sicily below...

Volcano tips


“For me, the Aeolian Islands are the best location to visit as, depending on visibility, some of the active lava and Tyrrhenian views from the summit of the volcanoes are simply stunning. We had to wear a helmet when we undertook the moderate to challenging trek up the side of Stromboli and stood just 50 metres away from the bright red lava fire which was a breath-taking, yet totally safe, experience.”

Culture tips


“Sicily is a melting pot of civilisations, the place in Italy where the highest amount of cultures have crossed, and much more than just the obvious highlights. The UNESCO region of Val di Noto in the southeast of Sicily is certainly somewhere that I’d recommend and if you can hire a local guide as well as a car, you’ll find some of the island’s best examples of baroque architecture in towns like Notto, Modica and Ragusa. The temples of Agrigento are also well worth seeing and if you have the time to take two to three weeks to explore the whole island you’re bound to get much more from the experience.”

Eating & drinking


“Although Palermo is quite a dark and mysterious city, a bit like Naples, it’s also amazing for food and anyone interested in cooking or just eating should definitely give it a go.”

Sicily travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Sicily travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
"Make sure you take good waterproof clothing. It can get wet and cold in the mountains." - Sheila Knight

"Go off-season. We did, in mid-September, and although it was still very hot- 34 degrees- the beach was virtually empty." - Karen Vincent-Jones

"Learn Italian! The hotel staff were really helpful and friendly, but outside the front door we found that in this part of Sicily, there was very little English spoken. This was good in a way, but make sure you have your phrase book handy!" - Dominic Baker




Written by: Chris Owen

Photo credits: [Sicilian landscape: Giorgio Leggio] [Aeolian islands: Marta Marinelli] [Wild Strawberry tart : Kate Hopkins] [Markets tip: Marta Marinelli] [Help desk image: Davide D'Amico] [Isola Bella island, Sicily: gnuckx]

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